A practical foreign exchange and currency guide to the Congo
What's in this Congo currency guide:
The official currency of the Congo is the Central African franc, with symbol FCFA and currency code XAF.
18 Nov 2022
03 Sep 2022
02 Dec 2021
03 Dec 2017
04 Dec 2012
07 Dec 2002
The below comparison table makes it easy to find the best exchange rates and lowest fees when you want to make a Transfer or Spend Central African franc.
The Republic of the Congo uses the Central African Franc (CFA) as its currency but often travellers do not get to use it. Brazzaville’s international hotels and the country’s few wilderness lodges accept US dollars, GB pounds and Euros.
It’s true that the DRC is a deeply troubled country. Beginning with the arrival of Europeans in the late fifteenth century, and the subsequent colonisation in 1885 by Belgium, extensive pillaging of the country’s rich natural resources, slavery and war mar its history.
Although the DRC enjoyed some prosperous years in the 1950s, the country fell apart again after independence in 1960 and continues to face waves of violence and war, kept at bay only in some regions by the huge UN peacekeeper presence.
It’s possible to visit parts of the DRC safely. The safest and most touristed areas of the country are Goma, Virunga National Park and Bukavu in in the east, and the capital Kinshasa in the west. Given that there are still serious security threats in the DRC for tourists, it’s best to visit with a tour company who will know how best to keep you safe.
The combination of long distances and terrible roads means flying is often the best (and sometimes the only practical) way to reach many towns in DRC. While the country is not known for its strict safety regulations, things have improved considerably in recent years. CAA Congo, KIN-AVIA and Congo Airways are generally considered to be the best of the domestic airlines. Air travel is not cheap, however.
Buses are available where the roads are good enough, but they are very much the lowest rung in DRC travel. Currently it’s hard to advise taking local long-distance bus services as they’re cramped, uncomfortable, and prone to delay, breakdown and ambush.
Despite a road-repair binge, most roads in DRC are still dirt, which means that rainy-season travel is slow and difficult. A 4WD car is a must almost anywhere, and it’s not normally possible to drive yourself as a tourist.
Trains in DRC are slow and unreliable, and in general not a good way to get around. One exception to that rule is the rail link between Kinshasa and Matadi, where there’s now a regular and relatively reliable service.
With the exception of citizens from neighbouring countries, all visitors require a visa to enter the Republic of the Congo; visas are not issued at the airport. The 15-day single entry tourist visa is usually sufficient. On arrival, your passport must be valid for six months and you may be asked for proof of your tour, lodge or hotel reservation – a physical copy of your booking confirmation is acceptable. A yellow fever certificate is required by all visitors except infants under a year old.